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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (September 21, 1997 - Radio Australia)---Fish catches in the South Pacific fell substantially last year, according to the just-released annual report of the 16-nation Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

The report says the 1996 catch reflected an eight percent decline compared to 1995.

Major changes were recorded by the purse seine fleets from Korea, down 10,000 tons, and the United States, down 50,000 tons.

The FFA report says many of the vessels associated with the Taiwanese-based Ting Hong group, formerly operating in Micronesia, have withdrawn from the region and now are fishing in Indonesian and Indian Ocean waters.

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